How hard is it to register disabled students for BTEC Performing Arts?


(A: Not as easy as you might hope) I’m currently working with seven SEND students at a secondary special school in Bristol. When the school tried to become an EDEXCEL centre they were told that the numbers of students projected to take BTEC Performing Arts in the following years would be too small for it to qualify. This is a common scenario for many special schools with low numbers for accreditation and I have come across similar stories on my travels.

So, the school have subsequently been trying to get the students registered with an existing EDEXCEL centre, typically local mainstream secondary schools which already run BTEC courses. Although the schools contacted so far – and there have been a few – are willing to help, the process has run into problems due to logistical reasons at the mainstream school’s end. Thankfully, we have now found a school which has experience of registering and accrediting SEND students and hopefully we can proceed.

Lastly, due to the longer delivery time of the course (two years) – which is not unusual in a special education setting given the constraints on time and money, and the additional needs of the students – I wanted to check that the BTEC specification we are following is still active and valid. When I rang EDEXCEL, they couldn’t find their own specification document so I ended up emailing them it. Given BTEC’s reputation for being more inclusive than say GCSE (see National Plan figures) I’m hoping that EDEXCEL will be able to help us navigate a not-too-often chartered journey, that of students with complex needs gaining accreditation in music.

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